Tuesday, August 21, 2007



It was an otherwise boring day: The rain, miserably touching everyone’s lives, the usual multi tributary line to the bus door at Metropolis, Alabang with the usual suspects going to work. Then the otherwise boring day shifted. As we approached the Pasay Road - Edsa junction, an old man asked the bus driver to open the door. The driver complied and from the dry, relative safety of my window seat I saw why. The old man urinated at the bus tire, under the rain, in the middle of the road, in plain view of everyone who cared to look. He had about 30 seconds before the traffic light turns green and with luck, he made it back in the bus just in the nick of time.

You’d think you’ve seen it all: bus breakups (live and on mobile), bus break downs, irate passenger/s and/or bus driver/conductor, the small lady preacher that I always chance upon, the fat lady who pays for the empty seat on her side so that her stuff can sit down while others stand up. You’d think you’ve seen it all.

Then three days later, another old man breaks the monotony: he stood by the bus aisle and as chivalry would dictate, a young dude offers him a seat. The old man berates the well meaning kid saying in a loud tone, “I can stand for ten hours no problem!”

As the trip pressed on, the old man would mutter loudly to himself:

“Mas masarap tumayo, mas nakikita ko yung tanawin sa labas!”

(The song “Bebot” by Pinoy-Black Eyed Peas sensation apl.de.ap plays on the bus radio)

“Pinoy Pinay Balot!”

(The song hits the part where the word “Pilipinas” is said over and over)

“Pilipinas, korap (corrupt) naman ang gobyerno! Puro korap! Puro korap!”

Nobody minds the old man because everyone knows that the best way to stay clear of a crackpot is to apply apathy. The old man goes down on Mantrade, and a stranger talks to a stranger:

“Kumunista ata yun?”

“Hinde, rami lang syang frustrations sa buhay.”

There’s just too much judgment in this world, but it’s ok. It would have been an otherwise uneventful trip, and I can’t wait to see the next thing that tops the crazy rantings of the angry old man that I saw, heard and appreciated this morning.

curiosity killed the cat: www.discovermagazine.com/columns/20-things-you-didnt-know

Wednesday, August 01, 2007



Its one of the best things you could ever see on the bus: a fellow commuter with a box of cake. Last night, I happened to sit beside one. Our bus seat was directly above the back tires of the bus, so my bus mate had her knees elevated and upon her knees she rested the two corners of the cake box with her two hands supporting the remaining two sides of the box. This balancing act ran from the start of the trip to its end. She had to keep her cake horizontally stable so as not to ruin the side icing. I moved a bit and hit her cake with my elbow, and she tilted her head and she gave my arm the evil eye of Sauron.

Remember this and remember it well: Never mess with a commuter who carries a box of cake. The mission to bring home something that bears so much happiness is worth achieving at all costs. And so I kept still, and I didn’t mind because after all, I didn’t want to mess with the girl.

Later that night, I tried to raise a mental image of something that I have almost buried at the back of my head: Its one of the best things that I have ever seen in my life. He was a carpenter, and by his foot was a bag, and in the bag were the implements of his trade: a worn saw with a PVC pipe teeth guard, a hammer, nylon string, inside the bag I imagined I’d see nails and a steel L-ruler, perhaps a pair of electrician’s pliers. The carpenter wore a white shirt that humbly proclaimed his modest life. His face and body was burned to a dark tan: but then this is no surprise because what carpenter wouldn’t have skin in any other hue? His veins bulged and if you look, you could easily count how many snaked his hand. And on the carpenters nose rested a pair of worn pair of glasses, and the eyes behind them looked forward to the bus destination because on his lap a box rested: it was bright yellow and it looked really new and shiny and on top of the box were five small candles that were hastily taped on the surface, and inside the box was a cake and on the cake, written in cursive script using blue cake frosting were the words Happy Birthday.

curiosity killed the cat: www.chucknorris.com

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